Saturday, August 25, 2012

World of Motion

   World of Motion was an opening day pavilion in Future World at EPCOT Center.  The pavilion opened with the park on October 1st, 1982 with GM as the sponsor.  General Motors actually signed on in December of 1977 as the first sponsor to back EPCOT Center.  This was a move to try and compete with Ford Motor Company, which sponsored a WED designed pavilion at the 1964-'65 New York Worlds Fair.    This ended up being the second most popular pavilion at the Fair.  So GM wanted to definitely have its own pavilion at the new EPCOT Center.

     The cylindrical show building housed an attraction that was a animitronic powerhouse, which included around 180 animitronics and over 30 show scenes.  The ride portion was fifteen minutes in length and the post show was fairly expansive, with many exhibits to easily occupy your time there.  This pavilion was a people eating machine,  with the hourly capacity of over 3000 people and the Transcenter able to hold an ample amount of guests as well.

     The attraction itself depicted the history of transportation through animitronic show scenes, with a heavy emphasis on screen based images as well.  The difference between World of Motion and the other animitronic based attractions was the use of humor in the scenes.  The comedic elements contained in the show scenes were heavily influenced by Marc Davis as well as Ward Kimball.  Some of the elements were direct decedents of the never built Western River Expedition which Marc Davis spent many years designing and developing.  The humor in the scenes does play a contradiction to the mostly seriousness of the narration, voiced by Gary Owens.

Traveler by Sea "Undaunted by age old myths"
"Fast, Dependable, Safe Travel... the new Frontier"
     I remember as a child being confused on which scenes were from Spaceship Earth and which scenes were from World of Motion.  I would look for the Mona Lisa tapping her foot while da Vinci works on his flying machine in Spaceship Earth in the renaissance scene.  I think it was more a fact of the chronologic portrayal of the topics presented more than the similarities of the scenes themselves.
"Infallible combination of man and machine; the bicycle"

The horseless carriage 
"The sky's the limit!"
   The next area of the attraction, were the speed tunnels that were reminiscent of the extinct If You Had Wings at Magic Kingdom.  These speed tunnels enveloped your ride vehicles and gave you the sensation of movement with scenes that included whitewater rafting, bobsledding  and undersea exploring.  With additional scenes involving computer graphic images which made for a pretty disorienting experience,.

   These tunnels led into the final scene of the attraction; the CenterCore.  This massive scene featured a six story model depicting a city of the future and was located in the center of the pavilion. Your ride vehicle would travel almost all the way around the scene in a circular motion as your eye was drawn to the sparkling and moving lights all over.  The grandeur and scale of this scene was a fitting end to the ride through portion of the experience. As in typical EPCOT Center fashion it portrayed the future in a truly marvelous and epic scope as to get you excited to jump headlong into future technologies and products to get to this wonderful time as soon as possible.

    Right before you enter the unload area you are treated to a depiction of a morphing of your ride vehicle into a sleek rounded futuristic craft of some sort.  This portrayal of the vehicle was created by a pepper's ghost effect a la Haunted Mansion with the hitchhiking ghost scene.

      GM held sponsorship of this pavilion even though attendance was on a steady decline in the early '90's.  The decision to opt for a whole new experience in the space was ultimately made to keep GM on as a sponsor and to renew interest into the pavilion, and the park as a whole.  And on January 2, 1996 the World of Motion would close for good.

     I will have to do another post on the postshow area by itself.  There were so many things to experience and observe in the Transcenter that this post would get tiresomely long.  So  to hopefully keep your interest, I will end it here.  Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. Great article! I was lucky enough to visit WDW in time to experience World of Motion before it closed. This brings back a lot of great memories!